Immigration consultants are licensed individuals that assist immigrants in becoming residents in another country. Because immigration laws and rules vary from country to country, hiring an immigration consultant may be helpful depending on an individual’s specific circumstance. Should you decide to hire an immigration consultant, here are steps to guide you through making a choice.
Ask for recommendations and referrals from friends and family. If you know anybody that has already immigrated to the country you are moving to, inquire about their immigration experience and ask for the name of their consultant based on their recommendation.
Verify the qualifications and experience of the consultant. When meeting with your immigration consultant, ask to see a license or diploma to verify the validity of their qualifications. You may also want to ask them for references, as well as their prior experiences with consulting and how long they have been in the business. If you are hiring an immigration consultant in a country or province where immigration consultants are regulated by the government, you may contact the regulating body directly to verify the credentials of your consultant. In some countries you can contact their Better Business Bureau to verify credentials.
Determine and understand all fees and services. Obtain a copy of all your immigration consultant’s fees and services in writing up front and make sure you understand them.
- Inquire about additional services. Some immigration consultants provide help with finding you a new home and new job, finding quality health insurance, enrolling your children in school, establishing a new bank account and more. If you need specific assistance when you relocate, make sure your immigration consultant can help you with that need.
- Decide on the geographical location on your consultant. Some immigrants may want to hire a local consultant or a consultant from the country they are immigrating to. Hiring a local consultant may be easier for in-person meetings and for completion of documents; whereas a consultant from the new country may serve as a dependable contact when you arrive and help you prepare for securing a job, a home, and more.
Inquire about visa interview preparation. Verify that your potential immigration consultant is willing to coach you on having a successful visa interview. An experienced immigration consultant will not only help you prepare for the visa interview, but in most cases will also perform mock interviews with you.
Read through all paperwork and contracts before signing. Sign contracts with your immigration consultant only after reading them through entirely. Ask questions for clarification on any paperwork that may appear unclear and avoid signing any untrue or falsified documents.
- Some countries may require you to keep the immigration office informed if for some reason you decide to hire a different consultant.
- Keep all receipts and copies of immigration paperwork for your records.
- If you decide to hire an immigration consultant in the new country, make sure you are aware of the time zone difference. Communicating with your consultant in a different time zone may prove to be difficult if their schedule conflicts with your work hours or other commitments.
- Do not sign any blank forms or forms written in a different language if you are unable to read them and make sure to bring a translator if needed.